Scribbling: Happy Endings

Friday, June 28, 2013

I'm sitting here, sweating, and hoping that there's no tornado later today. (Sorry, I wrote this yesterday when there was a tornado watch going on. I feel like no one in my area is taking this watch seriously and I don't think I'm taking it seriously, either. ) At the same time, I'm planning my vacation to the West Coast (vacation while you can, at least that's my reasoning for this one). 

While I hope that there's a happy ending to my story (vacation, yes ; tornado, no) , I realize that I find happy endings in books a little irritating, which is the subject of this week's Scribbling topic. 


Shel Silverstein once wrote, "There are no happy endings. Endings are the saddest part, so just give me a happy middle and a very happy start," (Everything on It) and for a while, I used to love the quote (I was (and still a little am) an angsty teenager) but the reality in books is that there are happy endings. A little too much, I think because sometimes I want a good heartbreaking novel and instead am greeted with a depressing novel that has some what of a happy ending, leaving me groaning, "You know everything can't be that perfect." 

I read and like happy novels (This Is What Happy Looks Like, I see you) but for some books, I have an overwhelming sense that they should've ended on a depressing note. When I read the Twilight series nearly seven years ago (before it was popular, mind you) I was annoyed that both Edward and Jacob lived. Honestly, I wanted one of them to die. The drama was stepped up and I was so ready to say goodbye to one of them. But no, Stephenie Meyer let them both live and Jacob fell in love with Bella('s).... daughter. Talk about awkward. How would future conversations be like? "Hey Jacob, you're not treating Renesmee the way you treated me when we went out." "Hey friends, this is my boyfriend, who also went out with my mother, way back." Awkwarddddd. 

Twilight aside, I find depressing novels to usually be more fulfilling. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is one of them. Part of the appeal of the novel was the fact that the characters will never, ever get the happy ending that they deserve. Readers know they deserve a happy ending, no matter how flawed or unnatural the characters are, but the heartbreaking moment is when the reader knows the fact that  the characters will go to their (sad) fates. 

I want less happy endings in YA, especially, partially because I can name at least five YA novels without naming a single depressing YA novel yet, and also because it's refreshing to read a novel that will make me cry my eyes out. 

While that's happening, anyone want to recommend me any depressing (but good) novels? YA or adult is fine. 

2 comments

  1. One of my very first discussions when I got into reading was about happy endings. I flat out don't like them. If it feels forced, then my overall opinion of the book will be bad, if it doesn't, and the ending is actually justifiable, then so be it. All is good. But this is not the way things end in real life, and I know I know, books are an escape from all the burdens of real life but still, I wouldn't want the ending to feel unrealistic. If the MC doesn't day even though they're facing dangerous situations by the handful, then no, I'm out.

    Great post! The only depressing book that comes to mind is Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini taylor, but that's the second book in the series. It's one of my favourite series ever, and this book is depressing, so is the first book (Daughter of Smoke and Bone)

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  2. I find forced happy endings to be annoying, and even worse in my opinion are happy endings that tie everything up so neatly that it leaves me with my eyebrows arched as I finish the book.

    I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone but Days of Blood and Starlight not so much. It wasn't the ending, but I couldn't really get through it. Thanks for the rec, though! :)

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